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Thriving In Place: Equity In the LA River Master Plan

LA County is committed to fostering a positive, more equitable future for all residents of LA County.

The Master Plan is part of this commitment, as the LA River connects millions of people across diverse geographies, ethnicities, socioeconomic means, and communities. The Master Plan lays out tools and methods that will help communities thrive in place. To help achieve this commitment, LA County is prioritizing investment in historically underserved communities.

The pursuit of equity underpins a vision of the LA River as a safe, accessible, ecologically rich, and expressive public space for LA County. Equity appears in many ways throughout the plan and permeates each of the nine goals. Improved connectivity between the river corridor underscores the equity of access.

Musicians perform in Elysian Valley.
LA County Public Works, 2018.

The provision of parks for communities without enough open space touches upon equity as a matter of public health and general quality of life. The plan includes strategies to support persons experiencing homelessness and increase housing affordability, forefronting the residents facing vulnerabilities brought on by some of the county’s greatest challenges. The actions developing affordable housing, support for local businesses, and generation of green jobs address equity as an economic issue. The continued engagement and inclusion of Indigenous People in working agreements and partnerships works towards equity in project management and implementation. The management of flood risk and strengthened ecosystems demonstrates that the equity of people is intertwined with that of the plants, animals, and living systems of LA County.

The Master Plan has built-in flexibility and does not prescribe the order in which projects should be realized. However, as projects along the LA River begin to move forward, equity will remain at the forefront, informing project prioritization, engagement processes, and implementation.

Explore equity throughout the plan!

Click through the links below to explore how a focus on equity has driven all parts of the LA River Master Plan process.

This section summarizes key periods in the history of the LA River and brings to light persisting injustices for certain communities along the LA river.

Research on existing conditions of LA County informs the goals of the Master Plan. This section details the current state of community wellbeing through the lenses of access, demographics, arts, and more.

To ensure that a broad cross-section of community voices were part of the Master Plan, the public engagement process included 46 community and public meetings over the course of four years.

The Goals, Actions, and Methods promote a future where the LA River is a force for equity. Parks and Trails, River Access, Arts and Culture, Engagement and Education goals have an especially large focus on equity. For example, the actions and methods for Housing Affordability strategize around services for persons experiencing homelessness, affordable housing, land banking, tenant protections, and displacement mitigation.

Potential future projects such as shade, rest, and gathering pavilions offer opportunities for community expression.

Key partners for project management and hiring should reflect the diversity of the LA community. For example, these chapters promote Indigenous Peoples as management and business leaders. The plan also includes recommendations and resources for phasing and prioritization of projects to prevent displacement, provide local green jobs and business opportunities, and train river staff to reach out to vulnerable communities.

Consistency in design along the river equitably provides amenities to river users and adjacent communities. Considerations for a wide variety of users with all kinds of abilities are taken into account. The Design Guidelines help to expanded habitat and access to nature for people who might otherwise need to travel long distances to experience it.

The voices of community members are fundamental to the Master Plan.
LA County Public Works, 2018.
Future projects can help to create local green jobs and business opportunities.
LA County Public Works, 2018.
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